With the release of the official contestants and parties for the July governorship poll in the State of Osun by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the stage is set for an epic election that would be remembered for years. It is coming against the background of the sterling performance of a governor most observers call ‘the gentle giant’. Noiseless and self-effacing, Governor Gboyega Oyetola has surprised a lot of watchers who said that on account of his feuding relationship with some power blocs, Oyetola might be too distracted to achieve much. They said his administration might post a poor record to discourage his ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, from giving him a reelection ticket. If he got it, they warned gloomily, the electorate might not give him their vote. In a word, Oyetola didn’t have a chance.
But none of the predictions has come to pass. Rather, it’s the reverse of all the forecasts of the doomsday prophets which are being fulfilled. Oyetola hasn’t been distracted to the point of not delivering on his campaign promises to the people who gave him the mandate to rule. The citizens are applauding him for this. He has also not incurred the displeasure of the party lords, which explains why they have facilitated an encore passage for their performing governor.
But what appears to be the loudest evidence of Oyetola’s performance is not emerging from politicians or insiders alone, who might be charged with a subjective appraisal. It’s coming from figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, which indicate that 24 states in Nigeria failed the Foreign Direct Investments, FDI, test in 2021. FDI, according to the experts, is one of the three major types of investments as well as a critical source of capital inflow into the country. Other sources include foreign portfolio investment, foreign loans and trade credits, among other investments.
NBS explains that FDI occurs when the investor has some control or a significant degree of influence on the management of a domestic enterprise. The latter in addition must have a robust profile along with a conducive and stable political cum socioeconomic climate.
The report of NBS revealed that Osun under Oyetola met all these conditions and therefore was not among the 24 states that failed to get the attention of foreign investors. Manufacturers and other business stakeholders said ‘’nobody wants to invest… where there is so much insecurity. Investments thrive only where there is peace and security…’’
It is instructive to note that while the other states lagged behind, Oyetola’s Osun had the socioeconomic infrastructure to present for the owners of foreign capital to bring in their jealously-guarded resources to partner with the State of Osun. They want to put their funds where there is a combination of factors guaranteeing not only the safety of their investments, but also of their staff and their families. Of course, they also seek how this environment would lead to profitable yields from what they sow.
The prudent government of Oyetola has ensured all these have been put in place to draw out the funds of foreign entrepreneurs from the vaults of the banks. And it is no coincidence that the world is reckoning with all these developments in a crucial election season. So, while there may be comments on Oyetola’s achievements which some cynics may dismiss as patronizing and subjective, cold statistics from the non-partisan NBS have told their own story to counter them.
As they say, figures, like pictures, don’t lie. These indisputable data on the Osun that has undergone changes under the APC administration of Oyetola are the talking points of the current lead-up to the July ballot. Thus campaign for the reelection of Oyetola is unwittingly coming from NBS, a completely apolitical agency. Although the body has not requested the electorate to go in the direction of APC in July, its body language speaks volumes.
NBS has published incontrovertible figures that declare that the State has been adjudged by international financial institutions as viable for business and investment. They insist that good governance has promoted a secure society where the citizens can freely go about their respective ventures without concerns over their lives and property. This is seen not only in the urban areas, but also in the hinterland of the state.
At the end of the day, the masses would opt to return such a government to office for a second run as they get the opportunity in July. Why not? Who wouldn’t want a seamless continuity of the good things of life?
Oyatomi Esq is the Director of Publicity , Research and Strategy for the APC in the state of Osun